November 1, 2022

Signetics LM373 - AM/FM/SSB IF strip : weekend die-shot

LM373 is what we could have called "Analog SOC" : most of the components one needed to build AM/FM/SSB radio transceiver.
Die size 1644x1366 µm.

October 22, 2022

SEM selfie : weekend SEM porn

Did you know that you can make Scanning Electron Microscope to see itself? At right acceleration voltage electron beam can charge tiny dielectric sphere or plate to potential of ~30kV, at which point it starts reflecting electrons of lower energies back and allow microscope to see itself. Bright donut in the middle is backscattered electron detector (BSE, all 4 segments are enabled), tiny dark spot in the middle is output aperture where electrons are coming out. BSE detector is brightest here as it directly sees reflected electrons, everything else needs multiple reflections to hit detector.

At clock position 12 - there is energy-dispersive detector aperture, at 2 - secondary electron detector and bias electrode, and 10 - photomultiplier.

Let's see how other detectors looks like:
Read more →
September 11, 2022

RCA CA3019 - 6xBJT transistor array : weekend die-shot

Die size 1019x1015 µm. 6 BJT's are wired as diodes. If you wondered, where are missing 2 transistors in CA3018 - here they are.

Read more →
September 4, 2022

RCA CA3018 - 4xBJT transistor array : weekend die-shot

RCA CA3018 is 4 BJT monolithic transistors in a single package. 2 unused transistors on the die.
Die size 1007x1005 µm.

September 1, 2022

SEM deep dive #1 : weekend die-shot

SEM not only allows to see smaller things - it can also have larger depth of focus (so we can see things more in "3d") and shows texture/material differently. Let's look at few select chips of the past 2 years.

First K122UN2 - dual stage audio amplifier:

Read more →